In the months that I've not posted anything for your dear readers, I can assure you that I've been riding, learning, and having adventures that are quite blogworthy. I just won't be blogging them here anymore. Happily, gainful employment is in my immediate future, as is relocation, and I won't have time to blog here and at "Sweet Georgia Brown" so head over there for lots of information on and anedoctotes regarding my valiant steed, Brown Betty.
Not to leave you high and dry, I'll still be composing that Brown Betty album. If you're thinking of getting a Globe Live 2 Mixte, you can get plenty of views of this beauty. If you have questions, I'll still be answering e-mail at email@example.com. I've also got some bike wisdom for you [vicariously] from Josh, bike mechanic extradinaire from Out Spokin' Bikes who is as patient as he is strong.
You should go through the ABC's before every ride: A is for air, B is for brakes, and C is for chain. Because the rubber of your bike tires is porous, tiny amounts of air can escape from them in between rides and, depending on what kind of tires you're riding on (like skinny road tires), it can be quite important to make sure that they're inflated to the proper pressure. Checking brakes is simple--just squeeze the brakes before you head out to see if they feel good. To check the chain, look it over to make sure that it's not dirty and that it's oiled properly. Oiling it once a month should cover your bike's lubrication needs.
There's actually more to be posted from the Basic Maintenance Clinic I attended at Outspokin' Bikes on my other blog (or there will be soon). I hope this helps you have many fun rides in the meantime.
Betty, with both wheels on the ground for a change
I definitely have some more posts to write and I think I've figured out a way to link to a set of bike photos on Flickr as a little gallery for this blog. (I thought I might use Blogger's new tabbed pages tool, but I don't like the way it looks.) I also hope that I get a lot more photos of cyclists. As the weather gets better, I'm sure I'll see more about.
This post has been ages in the making because my computer has decided to say the long goodbye one failing component at a time and the library only allows you so much time on their computers. Since I'm in the midst of a job search this post has been shuffled to the bottom of the priority list for many days, but with a few moments to spare I bring it to you at last.
Tuesday was a bright spot in the week, literally. Everyday since then has been rainy, windy, and overcast. Lots of folks were out trying to enjoy the last day of nice weather, like these boaters (and their dog).
I met two cyclists! Marc studies Georgraphic Information Systems (stuff that regards maps, he says) at Kennesaw State and was able to figure out a practical route from there to Acworth Beach (that's about a nine mile jaunt). I hope he puts some of his routes on Bikely! Of course, he also rides his bike to classes, but he doesn't live nearly as far away.
I loved the kiddie seat on Scott's bike. He said that he often takes the grandkids for rides, but today he was out for a pre-workout ride. He's getting back into triatholon shape--like his daughter and son-in-law who are training for triatholons! Wow!
I guess you could call this a "slow bicycle" shop. Adeline Adeline is a new bike shop in New York City that sells, "toodling-around-town bikes and not bikes that climb mountains or race. Bikes and bike accessories with style." "No Lycra," declares owner, Julia Hirschfeld.
What a welcome development! Toodling seems to get lost between talk of commuting or cycling as a sport. Who would've thought that there would be a shop catering to toodlers? I didn't even know that "toodling" was a term thrown around widely until I just looked it up. However, I was toodling the other day and as I approached group of teen girls one shouted out, "I like your bike. Girrrl, you killin' that thang!"
Toodling definitely has its rewards.
Are there any other toodler-affirming bike shops out there? Do you know of any bicycle manufacturers that make products for the toodler market? I'm sure toodlers are good shoppers like commuters so let me know!
I haven't been in the mood to blog for a few weeks, but I wanted to share the success of skirtguard installation #2. Opening the package I was incredulous. I didn't see how these skirtguards were going to stay put. Thank goodness Michael included a bunch of zip ties in the box! Actually, the skirtguards stayed put long enough for me to put the zip ties around the tabs the stretched over the fenders; it was an easy installation. The zip ties gave me a sense of security when I went on my test run. My skirtguards didn't move (!) and they didn't rub against my tires or rattle at all. Initially I wasn't sure about the black against the brown, but I think they look pretty spiffy on my bike.
I just got a nice little e-mail from Josh of Out Spokin' Bikes today which reminded me that it's time for Betty's 90-day check-up. I haven't had any problems with her, but I figure that after my unsuccessful skirtguard installation, it might not hurt to have her looked at. Maybe the middle of next week will be a good time since I'll have the opportunity to try another set of skirtguards on Betty.
Yep. I'm going to try again--this time with a metal set of skirtguards. They should sit on the surface of the fenders making their spare design a non-issue. After talking the matter over with Michael (the warehouse manager at Morgan Imports), I think a few zip-ties should further secure the skirtguards to Betty without much of a problem. He also advised me to heat the plastic skirtguard that was bent with a hairdryer to straighten it. It turns out that I had my skirtguards turned inside out too; I'm sure putting them on the bicycle the right way can do nothing but help!
I'll definitely have news of installation #2 when I get the new set of skirtguards, along with any troubleshooting tips required. Wish me luck!
These were the snowiest spots that encountered on my ride Friday--my first ride in snow. I had to bypass a patch of ice at the bottom of my driveway, but that was the most dangerous thing I saw on the roads. The other patches of ice were striped with tread marks which I followed with my tires to prevent slipping--it seemed to work. The only threat of slipping came when I rode through an icy patch of grass.
I haven't yet composed my list of winter tips and helpful items for cycling in the cold although it is coming. First, I just want to discuss the act of winter cycling. In my experience, people seem to think that it shouldn't be done. It's simply too cold and it's foolish to be outside in such temperatures. It has been cold for Georgia lately, but I've seen that our "normal" or average temperature for this time of year is in the 50's. The upper 30's that we've been "suffering" may feel extreme by comparison, but it's nothing in the face of what people up North are dealing with--and they're still on their bikes. These are the complaints of the soft and I feel pretty hardy by contrast.
Winter is always cold. Even in Georgia where "cold" means temperatures in the 50's. Given the cyclical nature of what we're dealing with it should be easy enough for us to come to terms with the season with the proper hats, scarves, gloves, and coats--and still spend time outdoors. I think it's rather unnatural to believe that one should spend an entire season indoors. Are we mice or men? I'm not saying that there aren't temperatures too low for cycling, but I'm not countering such a rational argument. Most of the people who comment at my cycling in our current temperatures seem to think that winter itself is too cold for being outdoors. I reflect upon my counterparts spending their leisure time in their heated TV rooms and feel quite tough. I like feeling that I'm doing something that others don't have the heart or the vigor to attempt. I wouldn't say that I was a girly-girl growing up, but I wasn't a tomboy either so to discover this inner grit is a pleasant surprise.
via NYT, Eric Shofield, manager at Bicycle Habitat
Eventually we're all going to need the assistance of a bike mechanic whether we're riding a vintage gem rescued from the curb or a brand new bike. Unfortunately, not all of us have a bike shop at hand. When I lived in Cartersville, I saw my local bike shop come and go rather quickly. For those of you in a similar situation, I urge you to take advantage of the New York Times' kind gesture, "Ask a Bicycle Mechanic." This week, Eric Shofield, manager at Bicycle Habitat, will be answering questions asked him in the comments section. He starts posting responses tomorrow.
And now for some British bike repairman appreciation:
I like the bell's kawaii packaging and lovely shade of blue, but its sound doesn't live up to its looks.
I got my new lights and [nearly] matching neon bell on New Year's Eve--a very foggy day and the perfect conditions for testing the Knog skink headlight and taillight. I went for a short ride during the day and conducted a short ride in the evening. (It was cold, dark, and wet--an extremely unappealing combination). Of course, I tested the bell too. I wasn't too pleased with how it sounded, but it's such a close color match I can't bear to send it back.
I think that the color makes a bigger impact when all the elements are close together...
...but placing the light on the basket may be the safer choice.
I couldn't decide between putting the light on the basket or the handlebars. During daylight hours it seems like an aesthetic choice, but at night it's a matter of safety.
My bell still looks smashing...
...but apparently my light lost some of its radiance behind all of those break cables.
My aunt said she couldn't really see my headlight on the handlebars when she drove towards me so it's going on the basket. It didn't help me out on the darkest street in the neighborhood either. I don't know if that's because of the location of the light or its limitations. It's probably a combination of both because the more powerful headlights are pretty expensive.